Kiddie Cocktails

Opponents of the proposal to move the Children’s Museum to Grant Park say the application filed by the museum with the city specifically allows for multiple restaurants with full liquor licenses on-site.

Whoa. That doesn’t sound right.

I haven’t seen a response yet, so read this with caution. But here’s an excerpt from the press release put out by Save Grant Park.


April 16, 2008 (CHICAGO) – Parents from across the city of Chicago are sounding off against plans to build a children’s museum in Grant Park that includes allowing full liquor sales in the museum as well as the surrounding area, and opens the door to additional buildings in an area the size of two football fields.

The Planned Development Application (PD) filed by the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM), calls for the erection of 36-foot-tall, 100,000-square-foot building in Grant Park. The changes apply to a 1.74 acre quadrant of the park designated as “Subarea D”, nearly the size of two football fields, and would also allow for multiple restaurants and buildings up to 70 feet tall. [1]

“Permitted uses in Subarea D shall include all uses that are permitted in Subareas A and C, all uses that are either permitted or special uses in a POS-1 Zoning District (Regional and Community), including, without limitation, children’s museum and accessory uses, field house and recreational facilities, and restaurants (including liquor sales for consumption on the premises).” [2]

“The ability to increase height, expand their footprint and add restaurants reveals their true motive,” said Peggy Figiel of Save Grant Park. “As we’ve said all along, allowing the children’s museum to build in Grant Park just opens the door to even more buildings in Chicago’s front yard. But we had no idea that they would start carving up the park for profit so soon.”

The plans backed by the Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Park District and Mayor Daley specifically allow for the operation of multiple restaurants with full liquor licenses. Opponents say selling alcohol in a children’s museum endangers children, especially since many of the museum’s patrons drive in from the suburbs.

“We don’t allow liquor to be sold near schools, but we’re going to send hundreds of thousands of school children every year to a building where there’s an open bar?” said Amy Sobek, a mother of two from Mt. Greenwood on Chicago’s Southwest Side. “What in the world are they thinking?”

The application is co-signed by Jim Law, CCM vice-president and the former head of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events for Mayor Daley; Jennifer Farrington, CCM chief operating officer; Tim Mitchell, Chicago Park District superintendent; and Arnold Randall, Chicago Department of Planning and Development commissioner.

“They say they want to serve the children of Chicago, but it turns out they want to serve Jack Daniels,” said Curtis Burke, a father from the West Loop neighborhood. “The changes they are making would allow alcohol sales not only in the museum itself but also allow the construction of additional restaurants around the newly named Allstate Place. Grant Park is definitely not in good hands with Allstate.”

Save Grant Park is urging parents and concerned citizens throughout the city to call their local aldermen either directly or through the city’s 3-1-1 system and voice opposition to the plan.

[1] Part II, page 3, the section describing “Subarea D”

[2] Institution/Transportation Planned Development No. 667, pg. 3, “Statement 6, Subarea D”. Subarea D refers to the museum-restaurant complex. Subarea A refers to Millennium Park. Subarea C refers to the parking garage.


One response to “Kiddie Cocktails

  1. Pingback: Public Enemies « Division Street

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